So it was here, the first Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier of the year. I always get excited on qualifiers for these big-money matches. They can be a bit of a lottery, but if you draw a decent peg you can be in with a chance.
For the last four years I have been trying to get a ticket for Partridge Lakes without any luck, but this year I managed to get on both qualifiers. With 200 anglers fishing it, and about 30 reserves hoping to get a ticket, it was a sellout. The beauty of Partridge is that the match could be won on any lake.
My home for the day was Peg 42 on Covey 2. The Coveys are the lakes the fishery uses in all its open matches, so I had a good idea of how I would fish the peg.
With all the pressure on the lake, I knew catching shallow would be a lot harder than the previous day. The peg had a lot of reeds to my left and I could see a few fish knocking the stick-ups. I knew this would be the best area of the peg to get a few bites.
At the all-in I decided to try and nick an early fish from the reeds. I went over to my left with just a big piece of worm on and within minutes I was into a decent fish. Following a hard fight I landed a mirror of about 7lb, which is really big for the Coveys. The average size is 1lb to2lb.
I went over to the same area and fed nothing again and a few minutes later I got another bite. This time the fish headed straight for the reeds and I lost it. I decided to rest that swim for a while. Because of all the commotion of losing that fish it would have spooked any others in that area of the peg.
I went over to the far bank but there were no signs of fish.
Like the previous day, I had been loose feeding a few casters on my shallow line. I had a look on that line an hour into the match, with the hope of catching a few ide or small chub. I had a good run of ide and put about 15lb of them in my nets before they moved out of the peg.
I decided I would focus on my left-hand margin for the rest of the match because this was the only area of the peg that I could constantly get bites from.
I ended up with 54lb 12oz, which was only good enough for 4th on the lake, and I just missed out on a section win. I had a really mixed bag of ide, chub and F1s but I never felt there was the volume of F1s on the peg to challenge for a place to qualify. It was still a great day out and a decent weight looking at the others on the lake. One qualifier down, three to go!